11 Earth Day activities for sustainable family fun
These eco-conscious activities will get kids excited about the environment
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It's never too early to teach children the importance of keeping our planet clean and learning how to reduce, reuse, and recycle. And, with Earth Day just around the corner, it's time to get green.
Kids are born nature-lovers; Earth Day is an opportunity to celebrate the environment and teach kids about sustainability and eco-consciousness. If you're looking for fun ways to get in the spirit of things, here are some ideas and activities to make a real day of it and to have some fun while honoring Mama Earth.
1. Get them going green with this sustainable craft box
This award-winning, nature-based, STEAM-focused subscription box aims to inspire and empower “the next generation of environmental leaders.” Founded by an environmental scientist, each box includes 4 to 5 earth and nature-focused activities that are grounded in concepts that get kids thinking about the natural world around them.
In addition to just being plain old fun, Green Kid Crafts is a Green America-certified business, and it also makes a commitment to the environment by donating proceeds towards Carbonfund.org, 1% for the Planet, and One Tree Planted.
2. Plan a kid-friendly picnic
The best way to kick off Earth Day is by getting outside. How about a celebratory picnic? Raddish Kids is all about getting kids excited about cooking and their spring box will teach them how to use seasonal ingredients—which makes their cooking more sustainable—to create a meal. Check out a whole host of ideas on their site to inspire you for more eco-friendly fun, including Garden Bingo and a carbon footprint quiz.
3. Teach them how to grow their own garden
Help them embark on a lifelong love for sustainable planting practices with Leaf’d Box Education Kit, a gardening box with a custom curriculum meant for families. Each box comes with seeds for edible plants that grow super-fast, to make for a more gratifying planting experience for younger—and less patient—planters. At the end of 10 weeks you’ll have a full garden and will learn the basics for customizing fertilizer and learning when and how to harvest. These kits come with a curriculum book and they provide access to short video lessons that will engage kids and inspire them to want to learn more about where their food comes from.
4. Have a family craft competition
Have a craft competition that’s all about trashformation! There’s nearly no end to the creativity a dip into the recycling bin can inspire. We came up with 19 fun and creative kid-friendly ideas to get you started on a craft competition that’s all about reducing, reusing, and recycling your cast-offs into unique works of art.
5. Snuggle up for an earth-focused documentary
This Sigourney Weaver-narrated docuseries makes its debut on DisneyPlus this Earth Day and is sure to inspire curiosity about our oceans as well as the animals that inhabit it. Secrets of the Whales follows several pods of whales, including humpback, narwhal, sperm, beluga, and orca whales, over the course of three years in their lives. The four-part docuseries will explore the social nature of whale pods including how they connect with each other socially and how they interact with humans.
6. Read a book about nature
Nothing inspires thoughtful discussion better than cracking open a good book. Leaf is a story of a polar bear who gets lost at sea after his ice cap melts, separating him from his family and his home. He meets up with a group of woodland creatures who name him “Leaf.” The story is told in a fable-style and is accompanied by magical illustrations, depicting nature in enchanting and colorful scenes. Leaf presents the concept of global warming with empathy for the earth’s inhabitants and a perspective for caring for each other, which is a language that young children can easily understand.
This book has been a favorite of our family for years. Even though it's recommended for children ages 3 to 5, the illustrations are so beautiful and the story is so thoughtful that, in our family, it's still enchanting a 7-year-old and his parents.
7. Teach them the art of the closet purge
Clearing out the clutter always feels good, and the kids’ consignment site Swoondle is the perfect way to teach children the first lesson in sustainability: One kid’s trash is another kid’s treasure—especially when it comes to clothes they’ve outgrown.
Swoondle takes the clothes your kids purge and consigns them for you on their site. You earn points for each piece they accept, which can then be converted into purchases of new clothes. It’s an affordable way to give their closet a summer refresh and teach them an early lesson in sustainability.
8. Have a used battery scavenger hunt
Make Earth Day your annual commitment to purge all of those tired batteries sitting in your flashlights, remote control cars, alarm clocks, and smoke detectors. Tossing batteries in the trash is no-no when we’re thinking of sustainability and the health of the planet, so this activity is a perfect time to teach kids about how to recycle batteries.
Call2Recycle is a non-profit that helps to recycle old batteries and keep them out of landfills. Simply visit their website, plug in your address, and within seconds you’ll have a list of eco-friendly battery recycling drop-off centers near you.
9. Cool the climate
Cool theClimate is a full curriculum parents and teachers can download to educate kids about climate change and how they can take action. It includes a 30-minute movie that follows animal friends around the world, where they discuss the evolution and impact of climate change. Presented by Unicef and The World’s Largest Lesson Cool the Climate is free and it’s focused on kids 4 through 12 and includes a full program that includes coloring sheets, cartoons, activities and the movie.
10. Take a virtual field trip
Take a trip into the deep blue sea with National Geographic and your guides: a photographer, a marine ecologist, and an eco-journalist, as they take us on a journey to the Galápagos Islands and its surrounding oceans. The event requires registration but is free and includes video segments, a Q&A, and supplementary materials to help kids delve in further.
11. Make a green family pact
Earth Day is the perfect day for your family to sit down and talk about how they can do better for the environment. Come up with a list of ideas where your kids can help. From learning to turn off the lights after their finished in a room to recycling their juice boxes when they finish with them, Earth Day is the day to get the conversation started with kids about what they can do to take care of the Earth and why it’s important to do so.
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